Lake Como – 8 best things to do around the beautiful Italian lake

Lake Como

Think Italy and many holidaymakers will immediately think of Lake Como.

This magical lake and resort area is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for holidaymakers.

Tourists have such a good time whilst on holiday here, they often return back to the lake found at the foot of the stunning Alps time and time again.

Shedding some light on the key experiences to look out for when visiting this beautiful lake and surrounding resort towns, here are 8 classic Lake Como experiences to look out for.

1. Bellagio Grigna

Lake Como Things to do - Grigna

Found close to Bellagio (the village not the famous Vegas casino), the collection of Grigna mountain peaks rise over a mile above Lake Como.

A major landmark in the area, The Grigna are huge dolomite rocks that attract hikers and climbers from around the world.

Skirting the western shore of Lake Como, The Grigna defines the landscape and only adds to the wonder and beauty of this fantastic Italian gem.

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2. Como Cathedral

Como Cathedral

In the heart of Como lies the city’s crowning glory, Como Cathedral.

One of Italy’s most beautiful historic buildings (and there are some crackers!), Como Cathedral dates back to the 14th century.

One of the most important buildings in the city, Como Cathedral’s stunning features can be admired both from the outside where you are able to admire its series of blue turrets.

Inside, the main dome is an illusion of sorts, bearing resemblance to a visual you might find in some ancient kaleidoscope.

Amongst a maze of neighbouring buildings, Como Cathedral stands out by itself and has been given room to breathe with a square surrounding this famous building.

Allocate yourself plenty of time to fully experience the best of this great Italian landmark.

There are numerous decorative features to look out for, including some wonderful sculptures and a rather grand and giant organ housed inside.

Gold, with silver sculpted pipes, the organ ‘really ties the room together’ as they might say on some enthusiastic home improvement programme.

If you can find the time, a swing by the Cathedral at night will let you see another, more cinematic side to the building as it is framed wonderfully with some vintage street lighting.

Conveniently located close to local public transport, there is no excuse for passing up on a visit to experience Como’s classic Cathedral.

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3. Villa Monastero

Villa Monastero

One of the most insightful places to visit in the popular region, visitors to Villa Monastero will be able to enjoy a botanical garden and a museum.

Placed in a wonderful setting, Villa Monastero has seen sweeping changes over the years bears some architectural stylings from both the 17th and 19th centuries.

Wandering through the extremely well-kept gardens, visitors will be able to enjoy views of the lake, surrounding mountains and a collection of exotic plants including lovely citrus trees that add a pleasant aroma to the air.

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4. Monte San Primo

Monte San Primo

Offering great views you need experience firsthand to fully believe, Monte San Primo looks out across Lake Como and beyond.

These dramatic views allow you to get a sense of the scale and size of the famous lake with the various resort towns appearing quite tiny compared to the surrounding mountains and this famous stretch of water.

A hike up the mountain is the perfect way to burn off some of the calories acquired from all of the delicious Italian food that is so very hard to resist whilst on holiday.

Over 1000 metres tall, this is the perfect natural viewing point. Be sure to pack your camera so you can take some holiday snaps that will send your friends and family green with envy!

The hike up to the top of the mountain is in itself a rewarding venture, taking you through some idyllic Italian countryside.

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5. Villa Balbianello

Villa Balbienello

Looking out onto Lake Como, Villa Balbianello is great to place to take a moment or two to admire your surroundings.

Only reachable via a short boat ride, the Villa is a such a beautiful spot it has been featured in a number of films including ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Stars Wars: Episode 1 – Phantom Menace’.

We recommend following in the steps of Hollywood stars in taking the short journey across the lake to the Villa to explore the gardens.

Given the grand setting, it’s no wonder that the Villa is a popular Wedding venue for couples looking to tie the knot.

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6. Villa Carlotta

Villa Carlotta

A visit to Villa Carlotta allows you to briefly step into the shoes of a Italian nobleman as you experience the wonderful Villa Carlotta and gardens that really prosper under the hot Italian sun.

Literally a treasure trove, Villa Carlotta houses a fascinating museum where some great works of art are on display to the public.

The spot the Villa is built on couldn’t be more idyllic.

Close to the shore, and with views of the Great Grignas, Villa Carlotta’s beauty fits in nicely with its surroundings.

Inside, you will find marble floors underfoot and a variety of luxury sculptures, furniture and magnificent works of art that adorn the walls.

Take your time exploring the delights of the iconic building.

Once you finished exploring inside, the beautiful Botanic Gardens await.

Carlotta

Hard to miss, one of the main features in the entire Botanical Garden is the Water fountain found at the foot of a series of steps.

This provides a great photo opportunity.

Expertly maintained, in the garden, you will find a wide range of exotic plants that seem more than comfortable dealing with the often more than pleasant weather.

Terraced, the carefully planned garden accommodates casual explorers seeking out inspiration for their gardens back home.

Keep an eye out for spikey Cactus’ and the rather intriguing Bamboos Garden that is looked after following traditional Japanese gardening techniques.

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7. Castello di Vezio

Vezio

Located close to both the resort towns of Varenna and Perledo, Castello di Vezio is a landmark castle that affords visitors some excellent views looking out across Como.

Famously, visitors climbing the heights up the castle are welcomed by ‘ghosts’. These carefully moulded sculptures can be found in a few positions around the castle.

You can climb to the top of the castle’s tower and look out and admire the surrounding countryside.

With history traced back thousands of years, the area the castle sits in was once home to Romans.

Bit of Trivia – A collection of birds are kept in the castle grounds

First constructed back in the 11th century, the castle now largely lies in ruins and this year is celebrating the 20th anniversary since it first opened to the public.

Making the climb up to the castle following a steep trail is well worth the effort and is a pursuit undertaken by a huge number of tourists every year.

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8. Isola Comacina

Lake Como’s only island, the lone Isola Comancina is a small little picturesque island resting close to Como’s western shore.

Heavily wooded, the thick foliage conceals a number of historic ruins.

Ideal for a stroll, the island is the perfect place for a quiet picnic should you decide to venture across from the mainland.

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